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Dealing with Sexual Intimacy in Recovery

If you have suffered from addiction, one of the casualties of this could be your sex life. You have probably heard stories about how your sex life will be a mess during the early stages of recovery, and this is often true. For many recovering addicts, sexual problems quickly become apparent, and their hopes of getting their sex life back on track as soon as they stop drinking or taking drugs take a nosedive. In the early days of recovery, many people will suffer from painful intercourse, premature ejaculation, loss of libido, and erectile dysfunction.

The problems are often related to the individual who is recovering from addiction, but sometimes these can be related to his or her partner. Below are a few of the more common issues that can affect sexual intimacy in early recovery.

Hormones

Depending on the substance that was abused, hormones could be playing havoc with the recovering addict’s body. Low testosterone and raised oestrogen levels are caused by excessive alcohol consumption, so it is not uncommon for male alcoholics to lose interest in sex. When they stop drinking alcohol, it can take a while for their hormones to get back to normal. Women can suffer similar hormonal issues. The good news is that sexual desire does tend to return with time.

Low Self-Esteem

Many recovering addicts feel insecure about themselves and have no confidence as a consequence. This can lead to having little sexual desire while it can also cause erectile dysfunction in men. Now that they no longer have chemical substances such as alcohol or drugs to boost their confidence, they have to learn how to make love while sober, which can be difficult.

Damaged Nervous System

Alcohol damages nerve endings meaning that both men and women may find it hard to have an orgasm. Blood flow problems can also lead to men suffering from erectile dysfunction. Thankfully, blood vessels and nerve endings tend to heal within a few months.

Bad Memories

Both addicts and their partners may be plagued with memories of sex under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and these memories may make it hard for either person to enjoy being intimate. There is also the fear of failure for those who were unable to have sex while addicted. Addiction can often make sexual intimacy a problem, and now that the person is sober, he or she may be afraid that these problems are going to continue.

Resentment

Partners of addicts may feel resentment towards their loved one despite the fact that he or she is now in recovery. It is likely that this person suffered a lot because of their partner’s addiction and it may take a while before they stop feeling this way. This can affect their ability to be intimate with their recovering loved one.

How to Improve Lovemaking

It is not a good idea to just ignore any sexual problems that you or your partner are having during early recovery. Ignoring the issue can lead to anxiety, resentment, and anger and this can have a devastating impact on a relationship.

Focus on communicating with each other and learn to be realistic about each other’s expectations, especially in the beginning. Spend time concentrating on being romantic and learning how to love each other again without sex for the time being. Work hard to rebuild trust and leave the physical acts aside until you are both ready.

Learn to have fun with each other again and do not forget to be affectionate as this can help to repair damaged relationships while it can also prepare you both for sexual activity when you are ready.

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